The Grand Room Tour at Hearst Castle

When you’re feeling like you want a piece of Europe but you’re stuck in California, or if you just want to see a pimped out house, a visit to Hearst Castle might be the cure for your cravings.

Built by the newspaper mogul back in the early 1900s, William Randolf Hearst, this castle is situated on a hill near San Luis Obispo and overlooks the Pacific Ocean in the distance. It took nearly 30 years from 1919 – 1947 for him and architect Julia Morgan (yes, female!!) to “complete” the project – though I’m sure Hearst always thought there are things to improve upon. So much effort was put into making this castle of his. The majority of the materials and decor used were imported from all over the world, then they had to lug all the materials up a narrow and windy dirt path onto the hill, and let’s just say it didn’t sound all that easy.

The tour we took was the Grand Rooms tour which includes a guide for several of the main rooms and the ability to wander around the outdoor area as well as the indoor Roman Pool.

The parking lot and visitor’s center is at the base of the hill and we had to take a provided bus ride up the narrow street, passing through his zoo (mostly abandoned but you can still see zebras roaming around), and onto “The Enchanted Hill”.

The above photo is of the main sitting area. It was a large room, very much decorated, and hardly any natural light, though maybe the light was blocked off for art-preservation reasons. In any case, it felt very old, very dark, and very much not to my taste.

Moving on to the dining room. Hearst used to have a lot of celebrities over to stay for certain period of days. It was said that the further you sat from him at the dining table meant it was almost time for you to go home. *hint hint*

Once again, the ceilings, the tapestries, the decor – all over the top and grand.

And finally, we saw the billiard room. Yeah, not too impressed by it in general.

The hour went by really quickly, actually, and I was surprised we only saw three rooms in the timeframe. I was sorely disappointed in the inside of the castle. I mean, I love the effort Hearst put into it, but judging from those three rooms, it was just not my cup of tea.

… but his outdoor game is spot on! I loved everything about the rest of the place.

One of the reasons I really wanted to go was for the Neptune Pool. Unfortunately it’s under construction (and has been for moooonths) so there’s no pretty blue water to dazzle you further. But just imagine, haha.

Let’s go down to the tennis court, and talk it up like yeah (yeah)

I cannot tell you how many times Anna, Stefan and I listened to Tennis Court by Lorde while on our trip. So when we walked by this tennis court, we finally got to legitimately say we talked it up. Like, yeah. Yeah.

And of course, the pièce de résistance, the indoor Roman Pool. Please, dream with me. Dream of a time when Hearst was alive and these walls contained lively Hollywood stars as guests. Dream of a time when the pool was actually a swimmable pool and you can spend hours just mesmerizing at the vibrant mosaic blue walls and ceilings while floating aimlessly around. Ah. If only.

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